Barriers to Smart Cities

smart cityThe city of Bhubaneswar is all set to acquire the status of a smart city under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) programme, but is struggling with several civic issues.

The State Government is soon going to propose two cities to the Centre that would be included under the AMRUT scheme and Bhubaneswar is most likely to be taken up as the first smart city under the programme.

While Bhubaneswar prepares to participate in SCC in the first phase, it is troubled by encroachment of footpaths and parking issues in upmarket areas. The pavements have become an extension of commercial establishments, platforms have been erected to serve as kitchens for eateries and parking spaces have also been invaded by shopkeepers.

Apart from these, the rights of pedestrian have been ignored too. Walking on footpaths is virtually impossible as these have turned into vending zones of fruit shops who defy the norms blatantly.

Besides, with hundreds of vehicles being added to the city roads daily, parking problems in Bhubaneswar are worsening. Frequent traffic snarls and minor accidents especially during peak hours can be witnessed every now and then. Moreover, the authorities concerned have miserably failed to provide a solution to the menace.

According to one of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) officials, authorities have attributed the parking woes to lack of enforcement by the police. “Commuters park their vehicles in restricted zones and even on roads with impunity. There is no proper mechanism in place to penalise violators”.

The official further added that lack of consciousness among citizens has led to this problem and strict enforcement is the solution. The Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) has identified around 100 additional parking areas in the city but there are no takers for these.

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